This week the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.92 percent, mortgage company Freddie Mac reported Thursday. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, retreated to 3.08 percent from 3.18 percent.
US new-home sales close to flat in September
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. sales of new homes were nearly flat in September, after the government sharply revised downward what was initially an August surge in buying.
New-home sales edged up 0.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 467,000, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The report also revised down the August sales rate to 466,000 from 504,000.
The pace of sales for newly built homes has improved a mere 1.7 percent so far this year compared to 2013. Only the South has experienced gains in buying year-to-date, while purchases have fallen in the Northeast, Midwest and West.
Housing has struggled to fully rebound since the recession ended more than five years ago. Many potential buyers lack the savings and strong credit history needed to afford a home, causing them to rent or remain in their existing houses instead of upgrading.
Procter & Gamble taking out its batteries
NEW YORK (AP) — Procter & Gamble plans to remove its batteries and make Duracell a stand-alone company.
The world's largest consumer products maker, which acquired Duracell in 2005, has been trimming its product lineup to focus on its top performers. After it finishes jettisoning more than half its brands around the globe over the next year or two, P&G said it will be left with about 70 to 80 brands.
If a split-off of Duracell occurs, P&G said its shareholders would have the option of exchanging some, none or all of their P&G shares for shares of the new Duracell company.
P&G also makes Tide detergent, Pampers diapers and Olay skin care.
The Procter & Gamble Co., based in Cincinnati, said Friday it prefers a spinoff of Duracell, but that it's considering a sale or other options for Duracell.
Disney pens love letter to Japan with robot film
TOKYO (AP) — Disney executives call their next film "a love letter to Japanese culture." No wonder: This nation can't get enough of animation, especially Disney's.
Walt Disney Animation Studios is practically bending backward to woo Japanese moviegoers after the stupendous success of "Frozen." The fifth-highest-grossing movie of all time made more than $250 million of its total in Japan alone, nearly a third of its overseas numbers and more than five times what it made in France, according to Box Office Mojo.
"Frozen" is third of all time in Japan, behind "Titanic" and Japanese animation classic "Spirited Away," delivering success that even Disney executives acknowledge was surprising.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 127.51 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,805.41. The S&P 500 gained 13.76 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,964.58. The Nasdaq composite climbed 30.92 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,483.72.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.08 to close at $81.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 70 cents to close at $86.13 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2.5 cents to close at $2.182 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.7 cents to close at $2.482 a gallon. Natural gas rose 0.1 cent to close at $3.623 per 1,000 cubic feet.